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Aria Dunham / No Frills Florida

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Marian Perera

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No Frills has writers with great books, and understated covers to give the business impression of don't judge a book by it's cover.

Then No Frills is doing those writers a serious disservice. Because judging a book by its cover is exactly what readers, reviewers and bookstore personnel do, and there's nothing wrong with this. A cover says something not only about the story but about the publisher as well.

Covers like those of No Frills books don't say "Judge me by the story inside". They say, "Publisher is incapable of hiring or unwilling to hire a professional cover artist, and writer may be too inexperienced to realize this isn't a good thing."

Or, to put it in fewer words, they say either "amateur hour" or "vanity press".

So, to me, I want to encourage all you writers who are working very hard to get an agent, or land a book deal to be very careful who you slander, especially someone well known in the industry.
Slander is spoken, libel is written.

But I'm sure if you become one of those "well known in the industry" people, you won't confuse the two.
 
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cornflake

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Dear Writers,

Thank you for voicing your concerns regarding my professional conduct and activities.
I'd like to shed some light on what you consider to be "unprofessional" or "misrepresentative" of my work.

First let me address the use of the name Aria Dunham. In January, I legally acquired the name Aria Dunham and made the change from my birth name because of a variety of reasons. The same reasons that I discussed on a BlogTalk Show in detail so as to let my audience know the struggle that comes with doing a DBA. My birth name is highly difficult to compete with on social media. There are thousands of Rodriguez's, but after researching the various name combinations, this was one that I found easier to create a strong social media platform, and as you all know, social media is key to publication success, or any industry success.
Also, I am a speaker against domestic violencem child abuse and sex trafficking--all of which are dangerous to speak out against. To protect myself, since I'm well known in my community, and to protect my family from having to hear about the things that I do all the time, I use a professional pseudonym to do work, and keep my private life sacred.
Also, people are judgmental. I was born and raised in Ohio. I do not speak spanish. As soon as the last name Rodriguez is heard, I am automatically plugged into a stereotype. I commit no crime in taking a pseudonym, and as long as it is legally, and public notice has been served, which I did do, I am on the up-and-up.

As far as whether or not I'm an agent, or if I am a bait and switch artist that doesn't know what I am doing, etc. I'd like to discuss that.

I've been working with writers and businesses since 2002. But in 2012 I had the chance to work with a literary and film agent. What I learned from that experience was that thousands and thousands of manuscripts would be sent and we would have to reject them. I'm a writer, and it broke my heart to see how much money people would spend on SASE, paper, and time on sending to various agents and then get no reply, or not find someone to represent their work to mainstream publishing. I realized that the same business strategies could be used to help writers, and so I decided to leave working with an agent and I opened Platform-Power. What I do is I help writers find the medium that works for their books and writing goals to get them to what they want. Some it's readers, and they don't want to sign with a mainstream publisher because they want to own all rights and have all control. Others want to write and sell their book to a publisher right away. There are so many different goals that I writer has, so I try to help them find what those are and the consequence of each choice. Some writers have used strickly Amazon, or Smashwords. Others have used other publishing means. I don't tell them what to choose, I just coach them through the process. Currently, I have one writer who after working with me for only a few months now has her books in the state libraries, has been invited to be a national speaker for an organization that is dedicated to her subject, and she's is now getting phone calls for radio interviews. I worked with her to moving from a memoir to nonfiction, and we have a mainstream publisher who IS advance paying interested in her book and waiting for the finished manuscript. Because of her book being a memoir, her not being famous, she struggled. Today, she gets over 10K views on her website A DAY.

Another writer that I coached, that I didn't even charge a penny to, had a manuscript that was good but not as good as it could be, and I loved it. So, I coached him as well. 6 months post release on line, another unknown writer, made #2 of his category for Amazon book sales.

Am I Head of House to No Frills? Yes, I accepted that role June 1st. I love Mark's model and he is a commercial advertiser on my radio talk show. Similar to any public figure that has a company sponsor, I have a professional endorsement relationship with this company. What's worked about No Frills and those "covers" someone mentioned. No Frills has writers with great books, and understated covers to give the business impression of don't judge a book by it's cover. (How often does that happen with a writer) and what Mark does is he works very hard for his writers to move their books from being published into to actual brick and mortar books stores. Once a book has created public demand online, the books then get requested for physical placement in bookstores. For example, one book that we were told could never sell globally or in the united states because the market was "too small" was recently requested for national distribution by Barnes&Nobles due to demand. The goal is to release the property to a publisher. He does net on royalty, and he does charge for time and cost to cover the book and to print 10 copies that goes into 11 physical stores for the author, as well as place it for them on all e-publishing sites, and do press releases that he writes. He also attends most major book events in New York, and I attend ones across the country. To me, for $500 that's a true deal for writers, many of which don't even understand what all this involves and end up spending way more, or get really discouraged and drop their dreams all together.

As far as the Publishers Marketplace listing. To promote books to mainstream publishing house you have to be an agent, Hence why I have myself listed on Publishers Marketplace that way. I have every book for each author that I coach, and that Mark represents listed there for the purpose of giving them the opportunity they would not have otherwise.

I guess this is a bait and switch routine, but not one that I would call a scam.

Now, with regards to Robin. I tried to email her to find out what had happened. This past 2 weeks, I've been promoting publishing on my radio show and had received tons of emails. I think based upon what I read here on this forum from her, (since she refused to explain to me what happened) is that I must have thought her email was from another individual and accidentally sent it to Mark. (which I am sure that this has happened to others) I apologized, and I will continue to work on helping writers and businesses find their success, as that is the only real response that negates bad rumor.

You may not consider listing yourself as an agent when you are not, in fact, an agent, but (from what I can grasp from the above), the head of, an endorser of, and a client of a vanity press, a scam, but I'd like to know what you would consider that, besides an outright lie, misrepresentation and baiting authors.

In addition, I wonder what you coach authors in, or to do, and what qualifications you have for doing so.
 

cornflake

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Also, last but not least, I did want to mention one other thing that writers don't always consider. Every time a writer sends out a query letter to an agent, and the manuscript is good, a good agent will research the writer for their social media strength, and also for their brand. If a writer is someone who an agent thinks is going to be a lot of trouble, (time, energy, effort, drama, etc) they pass that writer up, no matter how amazing the manuscript reads. Why? Because for that tiny 15% that writers don't want to pay to their agent for helping get their book picked up, the agent spends hours and hours working to find a house. So, to me, I want to encourage all you writers who are working very hard to get an agent, or land a book deal to be very careful who you slander, especially someone well known in the industry. Because it actually could harm you more than help you in achieving your goals.

Also, remember that you have to have more than just a good book. You have to have a strategy: social media presence, engagement, strong brand, good content, and a great personality --to compete in this new world of publishing


Thanks again, for your feedback. All the best,

This is, excuse me, a giant pile. It's absolute bollocks, like four different ways. It doesn't actually make sense, in that it doesn't hang together or connect, but regardless, none of it makes sense.

All agents don't immediately look for a prospective author's 'brand.' Agents who represent non-fiction may be more interested in platform, etc., but agents who represent fiction aren't after unknown authors' brands, and known authors with a brand, one would think an actual agent may be aware of without doing research.

What do you mean by "that tiny 15% that writers don't want to pay to their agent [sic]?" What writers seeking agents don't want to pay agents?

Sure, agents may not want to work with writers who seem like they'd be troublesome. First, that cuts both ways. Second, who is being slandered by anyone that'd have anything to do with this? You're not actually an agent, so I don't think we're talking about you, and this is, you know, written. Third, you seem to be suggesting that agents who, according to you, immediately search for a prospective author's social media presence and 'brand' upon receiving an appealing query would connect that to someone's online comments on a message board. That logic, if indeed that's the suggested chain of events, seems deeply flawed.

The last, bolded comment is simply bollocks and nothing more. If someone is looking for an agent as a means of attempting to acquire a trade publishing contract for a novel, the person needs a good book. No one needs a fucking brand, social media presence or strategy to acquire an actual agent, which you might be aware of, were you one.
 
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robjvargas

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So, to me, I want to encourage all you writers who are working very hard to get an agent, or land a book deal to be very careful who you slander, especially someone well known in the industry. Because it actually could harm you more than help you in achieving your goals.

Miss Dunham, one of the most efficient ways to assure that you will never get my business is to issue veiled threats to those who look at your business practices.

You've already admitted that you play fast and loose with job titles.

AriaDunham said:
As far as the Publishers Marketplace listing. To promote books to mainstream publishing house you have to be an agent, Hence why I have myself listed on Publishers Marketplace that way.

And then you try (and fail) to employ legal terms as a "caution" against criticism?

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. And I think in retrospect, it is you, not anyone participating in this discussion, who is going to regret posting.
 

Undercover

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"and it broke my heart to see how much money people would spend on SASE, paper, and time on sending to various agents and then get no reply"

How? When sending SASE isn't "much money" as you so claim? And besides all that, most places now take email submissions that the author pays zero to. How is that breaking your heart?

And "one writer did this" and "another author did that" who are these people you refer to? Why can't you just say the name of the author so we could Google those authors did in fact do those things? So we can verify for ourselves? These authors you're claiming you helped, wouldn't you be proud to say exactly who they are? I don't get why you would do that other then to b.s. your way through it and look like you've helped such authors.
 

aliceshortcake

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:popcorn:

If Ms Dunham's grasp of spelling and grammar in her posts is anything to go by I wouldn't recommend her services as a writing coach.
 
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Old Hack

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My birth name is highly difficult to compete with on social media. There are thousands of Rodriguez's, but after researching the various name combinations, this was one that I found easier to create a strong social media platform, and as you all know, social media is key to publication success, or any industry success.

This explains why some writers might like to use pseudonyms, but it doesn't explain why a literary agent would need one.

Also, I am a speaker against domestic violencem child abuse and sex trafficking--all of which are dangerous to speak out against. To protect myself, since I'm well known in my community, and to protect my family from having to hear about the things that I do all the time, I use a professional pseudonym to do work, and keep my private life sacred.

Again, this has nothing to do with being a literary agent.

I've been working with writers and businesses since 2002. But in 2012 I had the chance to work with a literary and film agent. What I learned from that experience was that thousands and thousands of manuscripts would be sent and we would have to reject them.

I doubt it's news to anyone that the majority of submissions are rejected. But there are good reasons for those rejections, and one of the most common is that the writing just isn't good enough to be commercially viable.

I'm a writer, and it broke my heart to see how much money people would spend on SASE, paper, and time on sending to various agents and then get no reply, or not find someone to represent their work to mainstream publishing. I realized that the same business strategies could be used to help writers, and so I decided to leave working with an agent and I opened Platform-Power.

How can your business strategies help the writers whose work was rejected because it wasn't good enough?

What I do is I help writers find the medium that works for their books and writing goals to get them to what they want.

Great! Sign me up! I want to be signed by the big five, become a best-selling author, and earn millions of pounds. How are you going to get me there?

Some it's readers, and they don't want to sign with a mainstream publisher because they want to own all rights and have all control.

I hope you explain to these writers how rights, and control within publishing, actually work. Because this sentence doesn't convince me that you understand these things yourself.

Others want to write and sell their book to a publisher right away. There are so many different goals that I writer has, so I try to help them find what those are and the consequence of each choice.

What do you do to help the writers who aren't good enough, and whose goals are not realistic?

Some writers have used strickly Amazon, or Smashwords. Others have used other publishing means.

What "other publishing means"?

I don't tell them what to choose, I just coach them through the process.

Could you give me an idea of your experience working in trade publishing? Because unless you have a decent amount of such experience under your belt, you're not qualified to coach anyone through this process.

Currently, I have one writer who after working with me for only a few months now has her books in the state libraries, has been invited to be a national speaker for an organization that is dedicated to her subject, and she's is now getting phone calls for radio interviews. I worked with her to moving from a memoir to nonfiction, and we have a mainstream publisher who IS advance paying interested in her book and waiting for the finished manuscript. Because of her book being a memoir, her not being famous, she struggled. Today, she gets over 10K views on her website A DAY.

How many libraries are her books shelved in, exactly? And did she have to hand-sell her books to those libraries, or did you get her books reviewed in the appropriate journals?

Another writer that I coached, that I didn't even charge a penny to, had a manuscript that was good but not as good as it could be, and I loved it. So, I coached him as well. 6 months post release on line, another unknown writer, made #2 of his category for Amazon book sales.

You're talking about two writers here, yes? The one you coached is not the same as the one who reached #2 in his category.

A friend of mine got her self-published e-book to #1 in it's category in the Kindle store by arranging a strong blog-hit on the day of its launch. I've talked to her about it and it didn't take much effort; but the book only remained there for a couple of hours, and soon dropped out of view again. Since then several of our mutual friends have done the same with their books. It's fun being able to call yourself a #1 best-seller but it's only really a big deal if you're #1 in overall sales, and not in your category.

Am I Head of House to No Frills? Yes, I accepted that role June 1st.

It is a direct and obvious conflict of interests for a literary agent to work for a publishing house.

If you charge authors money for using your publishing services, that's a huge red flag.

I love Mark's model and he is a commercial advertiser on my radio talk show. Similar to any public figure that has a company sponsor, I have a professional endorsement relationship with this company.

So No Frills pays you for sending work their way? If this is true, then everyone should be hearing a warning klaxon blaring out now.

What's worked about No Frills and those "covers" someone mentioned. No Frills has writers with great books, and understated covers to give the business impression of don't judge a book by it's cover. (How often does that happen with a writer)

I prefer my publishers to give the business impression of knowing what they are doing, and giving my books professional-looking, great covers.

and what Mark does is he works very hard for his writers to move their books from being published into to actual brick and mortar books stores.

The best way to do this is to acquire good books and publish them well enough to get an account with a distributor. I don't see a distributor account for No Frills.

Once a book has created public demand online, the books then get requested for physical placement in bookstores.

This isn't how it works; and what does No Frills do to ensure its books create that public demand online?

For example, one book that we were told could never sell globally or in the united states because the market was "too small" was recently requested for national distribution by Barnes&Nobles due to demand.

Which title is that?

Amazon.com lists 26 titles that No Frills Buffalo has published. Unless most of those are in Barnes and Noble, you're not doing a good job as a publisher.

The goal is to release the property to a publisher.

You publish dreary books with dreadful covers, sloppy editing and some really slapdash typesetting (I've looked inside several of them on Amazon), you have no distribution, your sales are minimal, and yet you expect them to sell well enough for other publishers to want to take them on?

He does net on royalty,

I think you mean he pays royalties on net. This is not a good sign.

and he does charge for time and cost to cover the book and to print 10 copies that goes into 11 physical stores for the author, as well as place it for them on all e-publishing sites, and do press releases that he writes.

He charges authors for publication? Then he's a vanity publisher.

How does he get those ten copies into those 11 physical bookshops (interesting maths) without a distributor? Do the authors have to do this?

He also attends most major book events in New York, and I attend ones across the country. To me, for $500 that's a true deal for writers, many of which don't even understand what all this involves and end up spending way more, or get really discouraged and drop their dreams all together.

Charging writers $500 for these things is not "a true deal for writers", it's vanity publishing. The authors you "publish" are highly unlikely to ever earn their money back; they could self publish more professional-looking books for far less money than you charge; and judging by the excerpts I've read on Amazon they would be better off finding new dreams to follow--ones which they might succeed at.

As far as the Publishers Marketplace listing. To promote books to mainstream publishing house you have to be an agent, Hence why I have myself listed on Publishers Marketplace that way. I have every book for each author that I coach, and that Mark represents listed there for the purpose of giving them the opportunity they would not have otherwise.

So you're really a vanity publisher masquerading as a literary agent in the hope of attracting a real publisher's attention through Publisher's Marketplace.

Not only is this manipulative and dishonest, it's not going to work.

If you want to sell books to publishers, you need to do some real work. Read Carole Blake's book From Pitch To Publication to find out how good agents represent their clients. I'll give you a clue: it's not by charging writers money to publish them, then listing their books on websites and waiting for publishers to drop by.

I guess this is a bait and switch routine, but not one that I would call a scam.

If it's a bait-and-switch routine then it is a scam.

So, to me, I want to encourage all you writers who are working very hard to get an agent, or land a book deal to be very careful who you slander, especially someone well known in the industry. Because it actually could harm you more than help you in achieving your goals.

Luckily, no one in this thread has slandered anyone: as what's been said here is written, and not spoken, they can't have.

And as the discussion is about you, and not about anyone who is "well known in the industry", I don't think anyone is going to find their writing career blighted by having posted in this thread.

Also, remember that you have to have more than just a good book. You have to have a strategy: social media presence, engagement, strong brand, good content, and a great personality --to compete in this new world of publishing

If you have a good enough book you don't need any of that stuff. And if your book isn't good enough then no amount of social media presence will help you.

***

To summarise: you charge writers $500 to publish their books very poorly; you masquerade as a literary agent in the vain hope that trade publishers might be persuaded to buy the rights to those books; and when your business model is discussed, you wave around vague threats of slander and industry blacklisting in an attempt to dissuade others from contributing.

I'm not impressed.
 

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Dear Writers,

he does charge for time and cost to cover the book and to print 10 copies that goes into 11 physical stores for the author, .
How do 10 print copies go into 11 stores?
unsure.gif
 
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aliceshortcake

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But in 2012 I had the chance to work with a literary and film agent. What I learned from that experience was that thousands and thousands of manuscripts would be sent and we would have to reject them.

Yes, the harsh fact is that between 95% and 98% of submissions are rejected. This really isn't a big secret. Once in a blue moon a masterpiece may get lost in the slush, but most of these doomed manuscripts are rejected for the excellent reason that they're not good enough to publish.

Oh, and I've just chosen a No Frills Buffalo book at random and had a look inside. The first thing that struck me - apart from the clumsy writing - was that the editor hadn't noticed the use of "tracks" instead of "tracts".
 
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Undercover

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I'm actually glad I made this thread. With shedding more light into Aria Dunham and all the things she's affiliated with, I sincerely hope writers interested in her, will see this and know enough to stay away. Far far away.

And I found her on Publisher's Marketplace too. I always thought that site was reputable enough not to list this kind of stuff. Shouldn't they keep track of things like this?
 
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Undercover

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PM regularly posts 'deals' from known subsidy publishers. The PM folks do what they can, but the industry is so huge no one can police everything.

Truly. I can't find her homepage on PM now, maybe she took it down? I do still see some of her offerings. But those are only offerings, not deals.
 

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And I found her on Publisher's Marketplace too. I always thought that site was reputable enough not to list this kind of stuff. Shouldn't they keep track of things like this?
Robert Fletcher and Cris Robins have had PM listings at one time or another, as have a number of amateur agents with no or negligible sales. I think PM doesn't discriminate; if someone is willing to pay for membership, they can have a page. This actually is probably what discourages most amateurs and scammers from joining, and keeps PM pretty free of disreputables: they do have to pay, and it isn't cheap.

- Victoria
 

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Also, last but not least, I did want to mention one other thing that writers don't always consider. Every time a writer sends out a query letter to an agent, and the manuscript is good, a good agent will research the writer for their social media strength, and also for their brand.
Nonsense. Real agents market books to publishers, not the general public. The author's "social media strength" is beside the point.

Real agents know that there are plenty of bestselling authors who never go near social media.

The importance of social media and "being a brand" are believed in most fervently by people who can't write or recognize good books. People who think social media considerations outweigh how good the book is are ignoramuses.
If a writer is someone who an agent thinks is going to be a lot of trouble, (time, energy, effort, drama, etc) they pass that writer up, no matter how amazing the manuscript reads. Why? Because for that tiny 15% that writers don't want to pay to their agent for helping get their book picked up, the agent spends hours and hours working to find a house.
You know nothing. A wised-up author who had you for an agent would chew off their own paw to escape.

When a publisher buys a book through an agent, the checks are sent to that agent, who subtracts the commission and sends the rest to the author.

The only authors who are in a position to withhold money are the poor unfortunates who've hooked up with a fake agent and are paying their agent themselves.
So, to me, I want to encourage all you writers who are working very hard to get an agent, or land a book deal to be very careful who you slander, especially someone well known in the industry. Because it actually could harm you more than help you in achieving your goals.
You can't possibly be referring to yourself.
Also, remember that you have to have more than just a good book.
A good book is enough.
You have to have a strategy: social media presence, engagement, strong brand, good content, and a great personality --to compete in this new world of publishing
Pure flapdoodle. If you're a good writer and you write a good book, you can get a real agent who'll get you a real publisher. That publisher will market your book for you. As an author, your job is to stay home and write the next book.
 
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kaitie

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My agent signed me without having ever asked about my (completely nonexistent) social media presence.

To be honest, it seems that what I'm hearing more and more lately is that having a social media presence isn't enough to sell books. For the few who are darned good at it, it helps, but I've heard a lot of people say that it hasn't made a difference.

It seems to me that the most important things are having a really good book and being published by a really good publisher who provides great editing and covers and typesetting and who can get reviews and so on.
 

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And I found her on Publisher's Marketplace too. I always thought that site was reputable enough not to list this kind of stuff. Shouldn't they keep track of things like this?
It looks to me like her listing is not there now? The link google gave me for her listing led to a page saying that page has been removed, and when I searched her name on Publishers Market Place I only got a listing of a book written by Aria. She was listed as both the author and the agent of this book and was offering it to publishers.
I could be that the search engine is not perfect and she's still there though. (Not sure.)
 

gingerwoman

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My agent signed me without having ever asked about my (completely nonexistent) social media presence.

To be honest, it seems that what I'm hearing more and more lately is that having a social media presence isn't enough to sell books. For the few who are darned good at it, it helps, but I've heard a lot of people say that it hasn't made a difference.

It seems to me that the most important things are having a really good book and being published by a really good publisher who provides great editing and covers and typesetting and who can get reviews and so on.
My personal opinion is that what really makes a difference is word of mouth, more than anything else, which is most likely to be generated either by having a terrific book or tapping into people's passionate desires and needs in some way. (ie... Fifty Shades of Grey both captured Twilight lovers desire to see Bella and Edward have sex, and the whole rags to riches- date a billionaire fantasy, AND people's curiosity about BDSM- all in one. )
I have a social media prescience. I think it keeps my Christmas themed debut novel sales trickling in even though it's not Christmas. I don't think being on every social networking site will ever bring in great sales alone for anyone. It may help you get a few more sales a month on a book, and of course the more books you have out there then the more helpful that is.
Anyway I do all my social media stuff on my own COMPLETELY for free so I don't see what having a social media presence has to do with paying anyone $500?
edited --- actually E. L James book was a phenomenal success partly because she already had a huge fan base among those who read Twilight fan fiction, so I guess in a way that was social media.
 
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Undercover

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It looks to me like her listing is not there now? The link google gave me for her listing led to a page saying that page has been removed, and when I searched her name on Publishers Market Place I only got a listing of a book written by Aria. She was listed as both the author and the agent of this book and was offering it to publishers.
I could be that the search engine is not perfect and she's still there though. (Not sure.)

My guess is she took it down since I made this thread. It just seems awfully ironic otherwise. Unless PM could have said something to her too?

Victoria, do the agents and publishers have to pay more than the authors on PM? Because if that's the case, it goes both ways. I don't have a membership there cause I can't afford it. But if I could, I don't know if I would because of this.

I do think since you DO have to pay on PM whether you're an author, agent, editor or whatever, with the hefty membership fee, they should screen their agent/publisher listings better. I'm just sayin.

Cause isn't it like 20$ a month or something like that?
 

Terie

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My guess is she took it down since I made this thread.

Well, erm, yeah:

Shortly after I posted about Ms. Dunham, I got an email from her explaining why she wasn't really an agent (despite her PM profile) and why her website made it clear that queries received by her would be forwarded to NFF (when in fact there was/is no mention of this). She also told me that NFF paid "90% of royalties" (per NFF's website, the actual percentage is 85%), which she described as "the highest royalties paid by any publisher."

I explained to her why it's a bit confusing (imagine me saying this sarcastically) for a non-agent to describe themselves as an agent, and why paying "90% of royalties" would be a ripoff, since royalties are by definition the author's share of sales proceeds, and authors should receive 100% of what's owed them. I also pointed out that, since per NFF's website royalties are calculated only after shipping and production costs have been deducted from net income, author royalties from NFF are in fact likely to be pretty substandard.

I got a polite email back thanking me for my input. Subsequently, her PM listing disappeared.

I didn't catch the masquerade, though. Good sleuthing!

- Victoria